Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

All Activity

Showing all content posted in for the last 365 days.

This stream auto-updates     

  1. Past hour
  2. The system of equations: 2x + 3y = 16 x + 2y = 10 can be placed in matrix form and be pictured with 2-dimensional Cartesian coordinates. I wish I could show the matrix form, but I don't know how to do so here. I omit the picture (graph), too. Similarly, a system of 3 equations and 3 unknowns can be placed in matrix form and be pictured with 3-dimensional Cartesian coordinates. On the other hand, a system of higher order, 4 or more, cannot be pictured with spatial coordinates of any kind. Hence, I for one would not describe such a system as "about the world", but rather "about how we can think about the world." Surely, when we start talking about multiplying matrices, we are not talking "about the world", but rather "about how we can think about the world." Calculus, with its concepts of limits, infinite series, infinitely large and infinitely small, we are not talking "about the world", at least the external world, but rather "about how we can think about the world" and/or methodical thought that takes place in our internal, mental world.
  3. Today
  4. Thanks. I ordered the book from Amazon and expect delivery in 3 days. I will try to put any comments I have upon reading it in the Math and Reality thread.
  5. Over at Medium is an post by Robert Wiblin with the promising title, "What You Think About Landfill and Recycling Is Probably Totally Wrong." He opens by noting that his "impression is that most people have an extremely inaccurate perception of the merits of recycling and throwing things away." Amen to that. Wiblin then proceeds to marshal a wide array of facts that any opponent of this practice should find useful, to reach conclusions that he regards as "the boring consensus view among people who are highly informed about waste disposal." On that second score, I am afraid he is right: While he laudably questions the merits of this practice, neither he nor they get around to questioning the conventional rationales for recycling. He concludes: We don't have to throw our time away... (Image by Javier Huedo, via Unsplash, license.)f I'm glad I used something, I don't feel at all bad just throwing it in the bin when I'm done with it; I would regard it as a poor use of the effort I put towards improving the world [for whom? -- ed] to work on increasing recycling or reducing plastic use in rich countries [C]onventional wisdom on how to deal with environmental issues is surprisingly unreliable. That man is a rational animal is almost as cliched -- and unexamined -- as the "three R's" of reduce, reuse, recycle. That is a shame, because a major implication of man's nature is that man's survival is not automated by instincts geared towards a very limited range of conditions: He must think to survive, and a major part of that kind of thinking is changing the environment in order to live and flourish. This has significant implications for the interpretation of facts such as Wiblin assembles. As I put it in a piece about recycling shortly after China decided to change its requirements for importing recyclable waste: [R]ecycling pre-dates China itself, and began the moment someone realized that it saved time, effort, and/or money to re-use an object or any of its raw materials... But around the 1970s, hippies changed the goal of recycling from benefiting human life to preserving the natural world. Lest you think I quibble, consider how that affects even a simple choice: Toss out a cheap soft drink bottle -- or wash it and send it off to a recycling plant, regardless of whether it is quicker or cheaper to make a new one. Most people, including Wiblin, I would guess, do not look deeply at how incompatible the goals of preserving nature and human flourishing really are, or they would insist on far better reasons than a vague save the planet for the demands on their time that recycling is. Time is a factor Wiblin does not explicitly consider. (Hence my question, for whom. I want a clean and beautiful world as much as anyone else: That goal does not imply that it is wrong to alter it in any way.) Freedom is another, related factor that Wiblin does not consider. It is worth noting that absent improper government encouragement (at our expense!) of this wasteful practice (and its past encouragement of other practices that have harmed our quality of life) -- and with proper enforcement of property rights -- we would probably already practice many of the alternatives to recycling that Wiblin mentions in his piece. Wiblin's piece has value for showing how wasteful and unimaginative recycling is, but it does not go as far as it could. The common rationales for recycling are also wrong, and the resulting waste of our time and diminution of our freedom (however slight) when the government forces people into this wasteful practice are criminal. -- CAV Link to Original
  6. Merlin For a more in-depth treatment of Math being about the world (nothing to do with Tew) see Robert E. Knapp’s book. https://mathematicsisabouttheworld.com/ I’m slowly making my way through it. In the first chapter I find his style awkward and repetitive (this might change in later chapters) but the substance so far, once distilled, is illuminating. I can’t wait to get to the chapter on group theory.
  7. This is a quite different statement from the ones she made about Branden. She approved works of Peikoff that she had already seen. By contrast, she said Branden's word was Objectivism and that she approved his future statements in advance. (Come to think of it, "intellectual heir" has a meaning after all, namely this blank-check endorsement that she did not give to Peikoff.)
  8. It might be funny to start calling him a sophist. But nobody really uses that word anymore, not to describe teachers.
  9. Is that all it takes to make someone a philosopher: followers that are willing to pay for wisdom? Following Socrates' distinction, that may make one a Sophist, but not a philosopher. I'm not nor did I say he has to be a degree-holder (which is the number 1 stock midwit response to what I said.) In fact, there's no guarantee being a degree-holder makes you a philosopher either. Sam Harris has degrees in philosophy and neuroscience, and has way more followers and patreon supporters, and is not a philosopher. Many degree holders don't contribute anything and make bad arguments all the time. But what it does do is show that generally speaking the person has met some kind of minimum standard, and that you have had many of your arguments filter-tested by your peers routinely, and that you are in touch with the current state of problems and debate about those problems. The fact is Tew has done nothing in philosophy. His videos about Objectivism show a level of superficiality appropriate to someone outside of professional philosophy who has read a few Rand-related books and is parroting what he takes them to be saying. Understandably this might upset someone to hear. One might lash out and blame the snobby academy and its corruption and they don't get me I'm smart. But really it's better to hear it so you don't waste your time, or can make improvements.
  10. All it means is that in the final edition of The Ayn Rand Letter, she wrote that Dr. Peikoff's 1976 course was "the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism, i.e., the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate." It doesn't mean that Peikoff's word is Objectivism--just his course. However, there were some changes between the course and the book version. So OPAR is considered Peikoff's interpretation of Rand, which he acknowledges in the preface. There won't be another intellectual heir to Rand, because she's dead. And Peikoff said he's not naming one for himself.
  11. I'm not asking anyone to accept my view without doing their own due diligence. Did I miss something? No. Anyone can claim to be an Objectivist. That's my hope. But as I told Eiuol privately, I have more selfish reasons for analyzing Tew, related to personal interests and projects.
  12. I think the images of Obama in traditional African or Arab attire were too hard to resist. It fits with the Aladdin theme of changing identity to fool other people. The lyrics switch rapidly between two main ideas: Obama as low class/street urchin and Obama as high class/Muslim prince. But Rucka also mixes up these ideas to create hybrids and ramp up the absurdity. For example, Obama is a "Sunni from Alabama," or a "Moslem preparing shawarma" for a redneck. Rucka might hit the Left harder in general, but he's also swinging at the Right, using his redneck voice to say that line about Moslem Obama preparing shawarma. This particular video is not a great example of it, but Rucka does confuse me sometimes with his vulgarity and racial/sexual humor. I'll analyze one of those next, since I'm done with the couple videos that Tew referenced.
  13. Will a podcast work? As near as I can read the question, it asks: There is also the Objectivism Wikipedia page on the matter. It was an act that is surrounded by its own share of controversy.
  14. As far as I know Rand never named anybody but Branden as her intellectual heir. Can you provide a citation about Peikoff? (Not that the phrase means anything anyway)
  15. @MisterSwig Consider Galt's speech with regards to honesty. Elsewhere Miss Rand exhorts her readers to do their own due diligence while providing the core tenets for each branch of her philosophy. Ayn Rand named Peikoff her intellectual heir. Is Objectivism a licensed trademark, or to lay claim to being an Objectivist a form of trademark infringement? The fact that you are personally able to evaluate Tew's philosophic position for yourself and conclude he is something other than what he claims to be, should be evidence enough that others can, too, discover this for themselves, albeit you may serve as a catalyst to hasten the process for some of those that come across your elucidations on the matter.
  16. Yesterday
  17. Eiuol

    Rucka Rucka Ali

    How would you interpret the parts about Obama as a Muslim? Most of the joke is making fun of the whole "Obama is a Muslim" absurdity. The only true parts are the asides, the rest is about fear of black people and fear of Muslims. More directly, the original is a list of lies and exaggerations, and the parody is a list of lies and exaggerations (mostly from Obama's critics that are outright fabrications).
  18. Tew has over a hundred Patreon followers providing him with a modest income every month. Whether you accept it or not, he's establishing himself as a professional philosopher. In the end, it doesn't matter that he dropped out of college. A degree doesn't make you something, other than a degree-holder. As for his philosophical work, it seems that his articles are behind a pay-wall. But he has much philosophical content on YouTube for free.
  19. Warning: This post describes a song with vulgar words, including racial slang. To make my points, I need to quote a couple of the words below. In his series on Objectivism and humor, Charles Tew also references Rucka's parody song "Prince Ali Obama." He claims that it "doesn't say anything," and that it's "silly comedy for infants." This example might also be a source for Tew's accusation that Rucka tells "irreverent" jokes about 9/11, which I'll discuss at the end. The parody is based on a musical number in the Disney film Aladdin. Let's first review that scene. https://youtu.be/LlU_CYhym0o Now, let's watch Rucka's parody. https://youtu.be/I4Pa-OJ7yjQ I have not seen Aladdin in a long while, so I had to familiarize myself with the plot at Wikipedia. The story is about love and lies and magic. A street urchin named Aladdin finds a magic lamp with a genie. He wishes to be changed into a prince (Ali Ababwa), so that he can trick princess Jasmine into marrying him. The "Prince Ali" song shows Aladdin elephant-riding into town with an entourage and treasures, all to fool Jasmine. Meanwhile, the identity-switching genie gossips and lies to the townsfolk about Aladdin/Prince Ali. Rucka uses Aladdin to comment on our politics and media. He released the parody in October 2017. Obama (street urchin/prince) had been out of the White House for some time. Trump led the charge against "fake news" media (gossiping genie). And, of course, the idea of switching "gender" identities at will (magic) had become a political issue. Note that Rucka first establishes the theme of deceit by showing Trump calling everything on TV "fake and gay." He then depicts Obama tractor-riding back to the White House, which refers not only to Ababwa's elephant-riding, but also to a picture of the president on a tractor during the Iowa caucus campaign. (I think riding tractors in Iowa is a ritual for politicians.) Next, Rucka launches into a genie-esque litany of Obama's fabled deeds. But instead of sticking to royalty-based lies (like in Aladdin), Rucka also gives us tall tales of Obama's street cred, such as him standing in welfare lines, smoking blunts, and "mowing down fucking honkeys" with his machine gun-mounted tractor. It's quite an imaginative mix of fact and fiction, taken to Rucka's signature parodical extreme. It isn't until the climax of the song that Rucka reaches his apex of abstraction and metaphor. Speaking as Obama, he says, "I'm airplanes crashing in 2001," which I take as a statement on Obama's legacy, not irreverence for life. Basically, it's the idea that Obama was a disaster for America. And in the next line he transitions into "fear" itself, proving that our former president is not limited to self-identifying as people and objects, but he can also be pure emotion. So we've gone from Aladdin pretending to be a prince, to Obama pretending to be a horrendous airplane crash. Rucka's statement on self-deception and fraud seems pretty clear to me. I'm surprised that Tew mistook the video for meaningless, infantile humor. I suppose most parody these days will seem pointlessly puerile if you ignore the original work (and/or real events) upon which it's based.
  20. Good that I said that was an experiment, meaning something on the real world not a thought experiment. And my point was gravity if falsifiability therefore a sound scientific concept.This is completely independent of my point about contradictions. Is information travels faster and slower than light a contradiction? Because that is the whole point of the "spoke action at a distance" paradox
  21. When there is a contradiction, there is a problem with "my thoughts". Why? Because contradictions exist, but as concepts, as thoughts, as imagination. They do not exist outside of consciousness. They are artifacts of a mind only (sort of a mental entity). So when someone says they don't exist, it is in that context. When something floats, it implies there is no gravity. It could. Or it could mean your thoughts are incorrect. You have to ask what holds the water down? Why doesn't the object float above the water? If there was no gravity, the water should float upward and the object should float above that too at some point. The implication is that "something holds it all down". If contradictions exist, the the water is the object which is the air which is the floor which is the sky which is you and me and gravity. If a contradictions exist, if they are out there, outside of the mind the the world that you see is and isn't, Anything is heavy and is not heavy, Nothing can be distinguished, everything is the same and different. There is no point in asking "why" anymore, the answer would be meaningless. In any face to face discussion, to claim that contradictions exist outside of the mind, ends up meaning "end of conversation".
  22. After listening to one of Alex Epstein's Human Flourishing Project podcasts, I found myself intrigued by the title of a blog post he mentioned and I subsequently read, "Why Books Don't Work." This is a very thought-provoking and clearly-written essay of about 4,600 words, and considers the problem, common even among the educated, of people realizing how little information they actually retain from reading books. More important the author, Andy Matuschak, also offers some thoughts on what to do about it. Image by ASTERISK, via Unsplash, license.To illustrate his problem and begin offering his solution, Matuschak starts with the commonplace problems of people leaving books and lectures (a simpler case) with much less than they realize in the moment. This problem, he holds, is due to the fact that any such medium is based (at least implicitly) on a similar theory, or "cognitive model" of how learning takes place. The theories occur on several levels and at varying degrees of faithful implementation. But we can learn about learning by considering these theories seriously and by looking at what people do to compensate for their deficiencies. There are lessons for us, then coming from what the raw media seem to assume, through what educators who use the media (and attempt to make up for their deficiencies) believe, all the way to what successful end-users are doing. The end-users can teach us the most, the author holds, because they are actively engaging in the material, paying attention to how they absorb information, and self-monitoring themselves. These end-user activities Matuschak calls metacognition, or "thinking about thinking." Effective authors, he contends, are such because they do things to lighten their reader's metacognitive load. But if you think Matuschak is hoping to "build a better book," he isn't necessarily urging that (or ruling it out). He's willing to consider completely novel media, such as we see in his Quantum Country: My collaborator Michael Nielsen and I made an initial attempt with Quantum Country, a "book" on quantum computation. But reading this "book" doesn't look like reading any other book. The explanatory text is tightly woven with brief interactive review sessions, meant to exploit the ideas we just introduced. Reading Quantum Country means reading a few minutes of text, then quickly testing your memory about everything you've just read, then reading for a few more minutes, or perhaps scrolling back to reread certain details, and so on. Reading Quantum Country also means repeating those quick memory tests in expanding intervals over the following days, weeks, and months. If you read the first chapter, then engage with the memory tests in your inbox over the following days, we expect your working memory will be substantially less taxed when reading the second chapter. What's more, the interleaved review sessions lighten the metacognitive burden normally foisted onto the reader: they help readers see where they're absorbing the material and where they're not. [format edits]There is more, but many university students will recognize the repeated review of smaller "chunks" at intervals, the quizzing, and the monitoring. As revolutionary as this sounds, I admit finding myself being nagged by the memory of a dismissive term some of the nuns from my Catholic education used regarding some of the newer teaching methods, almost certainly "progressive," they deemed inferior: spoonfeeding. I am not dismissing this author's approach, but I see a need for caution in applying it, particularly in the creation of novel media. (I will note that I have not attempted Quantum Country, but I don't think my cautions suffer as a result.) For example, the author notes that lecturing has been "ditched" "in US K-12 education." That development is not necessarily an improvement. There can be good or bad reasons for uniting a lesson plan around a "theme, for example, and doing so at the expense of teaching deeply in a given discipline is definitely the wrong approach. That said, I am not necessarily defending how the nuns taught me. Perhaps those who did well could under almost any circumstances. What I strongly suspect, given the poor general state of education in the United States, is that in addition to the cognitive models in books leaving something to be desired, people are generally worse at metacognition now. In other words, I think "fixing" books or devising new media can only help so much. It's not a waste of time: They can make it easier for the well-prepared and perhaps make up for some of the deficiencies of our educational system. But we should temper our enthusiasm. -- CAVLink to Original
  23. ARI is just a think tank, I wouldn't call it part of a movement. In any case, even if it tries to make itself into part of a movement, that's misguided. It doesn't do anything in particular to change things. The most it really is, is an organization that keeps track of Rand's estate and promotes interest in her as a thinker. But the people you're talking about are so loosely connected that we can't call that a movement. If you want to call that a movement, okay, it just lacks anything like political purpose, or social purpose. All we have is some people say something like "hey guys, let's talk about these interesting ideas, maybe I can persuade you to change your mind about some things". The only problem with calling this a movement is that I think it makes one more complacent thinking that their discussion will change something, even though they certainly won't change a thing this way in the culture at large. Since you ultimately care about changing the world, why bother with Tew? Discourse is purely academic, and while it has value for us to determine which values matter, it has no value in terms of bringing about change. So don't worry about a guy who has big problems psychologically. Perhaps the more academic people are in a better position to change things - but it seems safe to say that the people who care about ideas won't (and clearly don't based on his viewership) look to Tew as a beacon of rationality. Christianity isn't a good example. It's extremely broad, and only some variations of it can really be said to change the world. Not to mention that the part of Christianity that did gain power and clout (the Roman Catholic Church) involved a lot of war and extensive political manipulation. We could call that a movement, because there were specific political ends. It wasn't a loose organization of people who share a pretty general ideology and people who discuss philosophy.
  24. I mean organizations, like ARI, and various groups, like campus clubs and online forums, all devoted to spreading Objectivism throughout the culture. The people in these groups can be considered part of the general movement to change the world's ideological systems. Christianity has been going strong for two thousand years. I don't see why Objectivism should be stopped so soon, if you believe it to be superior to Christianity. Not sure what the problem is with the idea of an ideological movement. I considered it pretty obvious, no?
  25. Last week
  26. 😊 I must confess that my recollection is not as good as it might seem. My last post was copied from something I wrote a few years ago and then edited a little.
  27. I don't think there is a such thing as the Objectivist movement. Or at least, if there is, I don't think any movement so narrowly defined can last. People organized around a set of ideas in either a social or political way makes sense. Supposing you you mean similar minded people, Tew doesn't seem anything but superficially similar. He is filled with anger and minimal benevolence. Maybe he desires to be more positive and feel better about life, but he certainly isn't that way now. What you have is a person who is psychologically unwell. Arguing against him won't help that. Arguing against him won't help the people who will find appeal in his extreme pessimism. There is something deeper going on than what you can change the argumentation or persuasion. How would you change his emotional reaction? Definitely not this way. If you care, for example, about social and political values that are common among people who like Rand, and feel that you can improve things - better to do something more direct. Address drinking and alcoholism, address Tew as an individual with his own experiences. Engaging him or criticizing him at high levels of abstraction avoids and ignores the real problems. I'm just addressing you in most of this Swig. Tew is a pretty tragic case, and I find it pretty masochistic to bother with him. Unfortunately, with people like him, usually the worst happens before they change for the better. It would be better for you to be productive on your own with your own projects, rather than "rescuing" a movement that doesn't exist and a person trapped in his own despair.
  28. This may be a broader topic than what you guys are talking about, but I think this is all predicated on that there is such a thing as "the Objectivist movement" and that it has a clear and district meaning and purpose. What even is "the Objectivist movement" and what task or problem is it solving that requires its existence? Why does it have a health and what would this be that I can even know it? Can anyone point to any example of this movement, who is in it, what has it accomplished? Does it even need one? What is the difference between a philosopher working on Rand being in a movement versus not being in one? How would this work differ as "operating with a movement" versus not? What would just any old group of people doing whatever they do look like as "operating in The Objectivist movement" as versus doing the same exact things just as regular people doing whatever they're doing? Do we need to be in "the Objectivist movement" to discuss any set of topics or talk philosophy at all? Rand 1968 "A Statement of Policy" denies both the existence or need for any organized Objectivist movement (and of course raises many more confusing questions for what she even means.) Is there even enough content in her Objectivism to be a coherent ideology for a "movement" and does it even have a criteria of membership in said movement, or a program of action, or even a coherent and realistic single end for action? It's clear to me that the answer is no it does not. I realize this is a larger topic but that leads us to the following: Implicit in all of that is that (1) Tew even is an actual philosopher, and that he's saying anything substantial or has done any important and original philosophic work one can point to. And (2) that his YouTube videos are even significant, important, or relevant to this "movement" you speak of, whether in terms of substantial content or number of views and popularity. And it's also clear the answer to 1 and 2 is both no. Rather it seems to be, the whole idea that there even is "the Objectivist movement" is widely pathological, and leads to things like everyone condemning and "sanctioning" one another qua "representative of our movement" or "hurting our cause" (whatever that is) whereas normal folk just look and go, "What? Y'all are weird." Implicit in this is the assumption that the space is zero-sum, that engagement with Rand can only be done in that space, and that everyone must give moral sanction to everyone else or "they're out."
  1. Load more activity
×
×
  • Create New...